Niedermayers could blaze separate trails


The Niedermayer brothers might not come as a package deal after all. Both defenceman Scott and forward Rob played with the Anaheim Ducks last season and can become unrestricted free agents on July 1, but they could choose to head different directions.


The Niedermayer brothers might not come as a package deal after all. Both defenceman Scott and forward Rob played with the Anaheim Ducks last season and can become unrestricted free agents on July 1, but they could choose to head different directions.

“For me it would be great to have him back again and to play again,” Rob Niedermayer told San Diego radio station XX 1090. “But I don’t think it would really affect my decision that much. First of all, who knows what the Ducks’ plans are for me and where I fit? If he comes back, I would love to come back and play for him, but I don’t know what his decision is going to be.”

Scott Niedermayer is contemplating retirement — he sat out the first half of the 2007-08 season while trying to make a similar decision. Rob Niedermayer appears committed to play somewhere next year.

Bruins expect to host Winter Classic

It’s the worst kept secret in hockey, but Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs all but confirmed the 2010 Winter Classic will be held at Fenway Park.

“Everything I’ve seen acts like and smells like it’s going to be in Boston,” Jacobs said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t know anybody else that’s gone through the process like we’ve gone through. Traditionally, the league announces it in July. It’s probably going to be the biggest Classic.”

The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers are two likely opponents for the Bruins for the annual New Year’s Day match.

This year the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field.

Penguins can learn from last year’s loss

Hall of Fame winger Glenn Anderson believes the Pittsburgh Penguins will be better prepared for the Stanley Cup final after losing in the championship series last season.

Anderson should know, he was part of the 1982-83 Edmonton Oilers team which lost in the final to the New York Islanders. The Oilers defeated the Islanders in a rematch the following season.

“You have to lose before you can win,” Anderson told “You have to have that ache in your stomach, that burning sensation that you don’t want to feel again. It’s like that first crushed love of your life where you’re devastated that someone broke your heart, tore your insides out. Unless you’ve experienced that, I don’t think you can ever win.”

The Penguins advanced to the final with a conference final sweep over the Carolina Hurricanes.

“As an Oiler team, we lost several times. We lost in 1981 to the Islanders and in 1982 to the Los Angeles Kings in the ‘Miracle on Manchester,’ ”Anderson told the website. “That was devastating. There was no way we should have lost to L.A. The following year? We lost again (to the Islanders in the final). I think you have to lose to learn how to win. You just can’t have that feeling of being content. You’re never content.”

Canucks bring back Rypien

Energy forward Rick Rypien thumbed his nose at unrestricted free agency and Wednesday signed a new two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

The oft-injured Rypien missed 70 games this past season due to sports hernia surgery in October, a relapse and then a leave of absence to deal with undisclosed personal issues.

The deal is worth $1.1 million US. He’ll earn $525,000 in 2009-10, followed by $575,000. He made $522,000 in the 2008-09 campaign.

Rypien, 25, stood to become unrestricted July 1 based on his age and low number of games (41) played at the NHL level.

“This is the place I’ve always wanted to play,” said Rypien. “Considering what’s happened in the last few years, I think I still have a lot to prove. I want to show the organization that I can play and, when healthy, I should be effective.

“I’m definitely excited and happy and I’m looking forward to focusing strictly on playing.”

Never drafted, the under-sized Rypien — he’s listed at five-foot-11 and 185 pounds — was signed by the Canucks on Nov. 9, 2005, after he was first given an American Hockey League opportunity by the Manitoba Moose.

Misfortune then followed Rypien from year to year as he broke his leg, his thumb and tore his groin before the problems of this past season. Canuck management obviously feels Rypien is worth the risk.

“We believe Rick has worked his way through his injury issues,” said assistant GM Laurence Gilman.

Rypien has never discussed the reasons for his leave of absence and declined again Wednesday, saying “it’s in the past and I’m just going to leave it at that.”

He did express his gratitude to the organization for sticking with him through the tough times.

“I’m very thankful for what they did for me and the help and support I got,” Rypien added. “It was unbelievable.”

Maurice awaits new deal

Paul Maurice took over the Carolina Hurricanes in December and guided them to the Eastern Conference final. But a day after his squad was swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Maurice still doesn’t have a contract for next season.

“Paul and the whole coaching staff did a very good job in helping us recover from an average start to having a very good second half to getting to the (Eastern) conference finals,” general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Paul did an extremely good job, did everything he was asked to do.”

Rutherford expects to make a decision on next year’s coaching staff within a week or 10 days. Maurice was the head coach with the Hartford/Carolina organization from 1996-2004.

NASCAR ride sported Red Wings logo

NASCAR Nationwide series driver Brain Keselowski is a lifelong hockey fan and had a chance to show his allegiance to the Detroit Red Wings last weekend.

Keselowski had his No. 26 Dodge decked out in Red Wings colours and had the team’s logo plastered on the hood for the Carquest Auto Parts 300 in Charlotte, N.C.

“We were seating around and thought, ‘We don’t have a sponsor this week. We don’t really have a lot going on. It would be really neat if we could go to Charlotte and just say hey, I’m a Red Wings fan,’ ” Keselowski told the Red Wings’ website.

“As soon as I told everybody that this was what we wanted to do, everybody got all excited. . . . Everybody stayed late and we got the car wrapped by ourselves. It was a complete decal wrap, which was something none of us had done before. We all learned on the fly.”

Keselowski placed 30th.

Ice chips:

The New York Rangers signed free agent forward Andres Ambuhl. The 25-year-old scored 17 goals and 24 assists in 50 games with HC Davos in Switzerland this season.

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